City-Parish President Joey Durel Monday announced a proposed change to the way Lafayette Consolidated Government funds nonprofit agencies in the parish
City-Parish President Joey Durel Monday announced a proposed change to the way Lafayette Consolidated Government funds nonprofit agencies in the parish. Heretofore, more than two dozen agencies — social service providers like Big Brothers Big Sisters as well as cultural agencies such as Festival International — shared a roughly $453,000 pot of money, more than 60 percent of which went to social service agencies.
Under the new system, money used to fund the non-governmental agencies through a competitive application process would come from franchise fees paid to LCG by Cox Communications and Lafayette Utilities System’s Fiber service. Currently, those entities generate about $840,000 in franchise fees annually, although Durel says he wants the funding to remain “status quo” — $450,000, as in years past — at the outset.
LCG’s Community Development Department headed by Ben Berthelot will appoint a 5-person panel to award the social service funding, according to Durel’s plan, with a $25,000 cap for each agency receiving funding. The Acadiana Center for the Arts, also using a panel, will award the arts funding. Cultural providers will face a $17,500 cap — a $10,000 cap for operational funding and a $7,500 cap for programming. Because the AcA, which opens its theater expansion this fall and whose operating costs in its city-owned facility downtown will consequently rise considerably, would administer the funding on behalf of LCG, it will not be eligible for funding through this new mechanism. Durel and AcA Executive Director Gerd Wuestemann say a separate budget mechanism for funding the AcA is being ironed out. Also, groups like Festival International and the Mardi Gras associations, which historically have received considerably more than the $17,500 they will be eligible for under the new funding system, will likely get separate line items in the budget the Durel administration will hand to the council at the end of July.
“We’ve had this discussion about nonprofits since I’ve been in office,” Durel said at a Monday press conference at City Hall. “If you remember, my first couple of years in office I zeroed them out. And my biggest issue was always that it was tax dollars that had never been voted on by the people of Lafayette to spend on agencies external to the government.”
There has traditionally been enough support on the council to fund NGOs that the agencies have received the money each year despite Durel’s fiscal misgivings. LCG’s chief executive has since tempered his tone, saying he supports funding for cultural agencies which show a return on the investment. But funding social service agencies in particular has become a bone of contention on the council, with some more fiscally conservative members voting to get LCG out of the business of funding all NGOs.
Durel hopes the new funding mechanism will resolve the issue. “We’ve struggled with it, and we’ve gotten the message from the council and many people in the community that they want to see us continue to fund nonprofits, the external agencies, but each year it seemed to be the same battle. So, we’ve been talking about what can we do to change the process, to start changing the process.”
It’s unclear whether the City-Parish Council will know which agencies have been selected by the two panels to receive funding this year by the time it votes on whether to approve the new funding mechanism as part of the budget process. Social service and arts/culture agencies can pick up applications at City Hall beginning Wednesday, June 9. Those applications must be returned by June 30, at which time the panels at Community Development and the AcA will begin the review process.
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue — the second in the last four months.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, April 18, 2014:
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
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Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will vote on a resolution that if approved would clear the way for a December ballot proposition asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax parishwide to help fund the construction of a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.
Just days before the fourth anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, the Coast Guard has moved cleanup of Louisiana's coast to a new phase, allowing BP to end its "active" efforts in the area.
Legislators still must leave their guns at the door of the Louisiana Capitol.
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The Louisiana House overwhelmingly rejected a repeal of the state's unconstitutional anti-sodomy law Tuesday.
The Louisiana Senate sided with Gov. Bobby Jindal and the oil industry Tuesday, agreeing to void a lawsuit that a south Louisiana flood board filed against more than 90 oil and gas companies for coastal damage.
Acadian rep notifies would-be supporters that an April 25 fundraiser for the embattled U.S. rep won’t go on as planned.
While it isn’t all too unusual for public bodies to have hired security present during meetings, the LPSB’s push to do so is arguably a response to the antics of one board member.
“I’m running. Why would I be raising all this money? Just to have to return it to people?”
With incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu watching from afar, and with a united Democratic Party in her corner, the fight to get the GOP officially behind Congressman Bill Cassidy is gaining just as much momentum as it is hushed controversy.
15th Judicial District Judge Durwood Conque has announced that he will not seek re-election after 27 years on the bench.
The controversial standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year.
The Louisiana Senate has agreed to prohibit unmanned aircraft from flying over chemical plants, water treatment systems, telecommunications networks and other items considered "critical infrastructure" in Louisiana.
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An unholy trinity of civil-society upheavalers whose first names are not Conner, Tanner or Logan are facing charges in Eunice.